Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau.
You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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A Republican-led forum on reform issues drew numerous critics of GOP policy Thursday at a Woodbury City Hall meeting that became surprisingly partisan for organizers. House Majority Leader Matt Dean, one of several lawmakers who led the meeting, said it was the first time the so-called "Reform 2.0" sessions had been overtaken by politics. "The politics is counter-productive," Dean, R-Dellwood, said after the meeting. "It's a waste of time." He said he expected a more policy-driven discussion, where citizens could provide input for the legislative process.
Jim Gelbmann said he still has unfinished business. After serving 16 years on District 833 School Board, the Woodbury man said he is seeking re-election in hopes of tackling one last major issue: the state's education finance formula. "The Minnesota Miracle of 1973 has become the Minnesota nightmare for a number of Minnesota districts," said Gelbmann, one of seven candidates vying for three School Board seats. He said districts like South Washington County find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes time for referendum measures.
A St. Paul man caught with more than 100 pieces of stolen jewelry in his vehicle didn't have the one thing that might have prevented his run-in with police: a full gas tank. Washington County prosecutors on Oct. 19 charged Carl Junior Jordan, 23, with one count of second-degree burglary, a felony. Police said evidence from Jordan's vehicle linked him to a Woodbury burglary where thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry were reported stolen. Woodbury police were first alerted to suspicious activity just after midnight Oct.
A Woodbury teenager accused of going on a neighborhood burglary spree earlier this year must serve four months in jail, a Washington County judge decided. Jonathon James Hanson, 19, was convicted and sentenced late last month on two felony burglary charges and one count of receiving stolen property. In addition to the 120-day jail sentence, Hanson must pay restitution to his victims and pay a $50 fine. Hanson was first charged in January after a neighbor of his in the 2400 block of Wimbledon Bay reported that numerous items had been stolen from her vehicle.
Sen. Ted Lillie asked members of the Woodbury business community for a show of hands. Who, the District 56 Republican asked on Friday, supports spending public money for a new Vikings stadium? Not a hand went up. He rephrased.
Authorities called on motorists and bicyclists to remain aware of one another last week, just days after Woodbury police responded to a vehicle vs. bicycle crash. Though fatal crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians vs. vehicles were down from 2010, state officials on Oct. 7 reiterated a call for safety. "Drivers must treat every corner and intersection as a crosswalk, whether it's marked or unmarked, and stop for crossing pedestrians," says Gordy Pehrson of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
Woodbury coach Andy Hill said last week he wanted to come out right away and punch Cretin-Derham Hall in the face. But when his Royals matched up Friday against the undefeated Suburban East Conference leader, it was the Raiders who landed most of the blows in the 43-4 home loss. Woodbury dropped to 4-3 on the season and in the SEC, while Cretin continued its unbeaten streak. Royals coach Andy Hill said "way too many mistakes" led to the loss - just the problem he said last week he was looking to avoid. "We've got a real good and dangerous team if we can eliminate mistakes," he said, questi
A Woodbury teenager involved in a two-vehicle crash earlier this week has died. South Washington County School District Communications Director Barb Brown confirmed that Braedon Hyland, an East Ridge High School student, died this afternoon. "He is recognized for his enthusiasm and great sense of humor," Brown said in a news release.
A Woodbury man apparently shot his children, set fire to the recreational vehicle they were in, then turned the gun on himself last week, according to the National Park Service. A statement released Thursday by a Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman shed more light on the grim case that thus far had produced few details and left community members around Woodbury troubled. The news release followed more than a week of mystery after Anthony Dehaven and his two children, Jace and Jersey Dehaven - all of Woodbury - were found dead Oct. 3 near Grand Canyon National Park's south entrance.
A key Afton city panel recommended not punishing the Belwin Conservancy last week for a procedural misstep that apparently stemmed from a misunderstanding at Afton City Hall. The conservancy drew criticism after some residents learned of a large restoration project and wondered if the organization had received the proper permits to do so, City Administrator Sarah Irvine said. "I assumed they already had (a permit)," she said, noting that efforts behind the project began before she took her post as administrator. "And they did not." The city's Planning Commission on Monday, Oct.